(Sports Network) - Washington Nationals young phenom Stephen Strasburg will
make his sixth start of the season tonight when his ballclub opens a key
three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C.
Strasburg hasn't recorded a decision in each of his last two starts and last
pitched in Saturday's 4-3 loss at Los Angeles in which he surrendered just a
run and five hits over seven innings. He struck out nine batters and has
fanned at least five in each of his five outings this season.
The hard-throwing right-hander is 2-0 with a stingy 1.12 ERA this season and
faced the Phillies during his rookie season. In an 8-1 win in south Philly
back on Aug. 21, 2010, Strasburg did not factor in the outcome with 4 1/3
innings of one-run ball and posted six strikeouts.
Washington just took two of three meetings with Arizona following a season-
high five-game losing streak and squeezed out a 21- win on Thursday. Nationals
young talent Bryce Harper delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the
sixth inning to lead the way.
"I just try to get a pitch I can drive every at-bat," said Harper. "Try to
stay as calm as I can no matter what the count is and hope for a pitch up in
the zone that I can drive."
Nats starter Ross Detwiler allowed a run on three hits and three walks over 6
1/3 innings for the win. Tyler Clippard had a 1-2-3 eighth frame, while Henry
Rodriguez registered his sixth save of the year after retiring the side in
order in the ninth.
Washington leads the National League East with a strong 16-9 record and is
10-3 in the nation's capital this season.
Philadelphia won two of three games in Atlanta and received a brilliant outing
from starter Joe Blanton in Thursday's 4-0 win at Turner Field. Blanton went
the distance and tossed a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts and no walks
for the Phils, who were coming off a long night on Wednesday in a 15-13 loss
in 11 innings.
"Honestly, I just tried to use last night's game to my advantage a little
bit," Blanton said. "Hopefully maybe they're coming out a touch lethargic. I
don't know if that was the case or not. I had some great plays behind me."
Shane Victorino and Laynce Nix both homered, as the Phillies won for the sixth
time in nine tries.
Still searching for his first win of the season, Phillies right-hander Kyle
Kendrick gets the nod Friday. Pitching in place of injured lefty Cliff Lee,
Kendrick is 0-2 with a 6.59 earned run average in six games (2 starts) this
season and has dropped back-to-back trips to the mound. In a 5-1 loss to the
Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Kendrick allowed three runs, two of which were earned,
in six innings with a career high-tying seven K's.
Kendrick, who was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits in three innings of a
9-5 loss at Arizona on April 23, is 0-1 in four games -- one start -- as the
guest this season. Kendrick has made 13 career appearances (12 starts) against
the Nationals, going 2-3 with a 5.46 ERA.
Washington went 10-8 against the Phillies last season.
The Sports Network